Around 1 in 6 Australians suffer from back pain each year. There are a variety of factors that contribute to bad backs, including injuries, health conditions and postural concerns. You may not realise that your mattress could worsen the amount of pain you experience—or even be the cause of it.
When it comes to buying the best mattress for a bad back, it is important to consider your sleep position, your pillows and your bed frame as well as your mattress. Read through our guide to learn more about how a mattress can cause backache, and our suggestions on the best mattress for you.
How to tell if your mattress is causing back pain
If you go to bed feeling normal but wake up with a sore back (that you can’t attribute to any other activities you’ve performed, like heavy lifting) then your mattress could be to blame.
The repercussions of back pain don’t just resonate in our waking lives — an ineffective mattress has a significant impact on the quality of our sleep, too. If you are uncomfortable at night, you may toss and turn or wake up consistently, experiencing lighter sleep overall. Aside from causing disturbed rest for yourself, back pain at night can also keep your partner awake.
An old mattress can trigger a bad back
The first thing to consider is the age of the mattress itself. Typically, a good mattress ought to last at least 7-10 years. If your bed is significantly older, it may no longer provide adequate support to keep you comfortable. Check for any visible signs that it needs replacing, such as a deteriorated shape or discoloured materials.
A poorly made mattress may cause back pain
The same is true of newer mattresses that are unsuitable for you, or ones that are poorly constructed. A mattress should provide the right support to maintain spinal alignment, allowing the surrounding muscles to relax. This is a key factor in preventing backache. There should also be targeted pressure relief that prevents tossing and turning during the night in an effort to get comfortable.
Finding the best mattress for a bad back
When shopping for a mattress for back pain, it is important to keep in mind that your sleep requirements are unique. You have your own typical sleep position, body shape and comfort preference. There is no one-size-fits-all bed that will suit everyone.
Firm mattresses were once recommended as the best option for those with back pain. We know from various studies and our work with the Orthopaedic Advisory Board that this is not always the right solution. It is far more important to maintain spinal alignment while you sleep.
Mattress firmness and back pain
The right level of comfort to look for (firm, medium or plush) will depend on your personal situation and how you sleep. You may wish to read more about mattress firmness and how this corresponds to sleep positions. Of course, we understand that everyone is unique and your needs may differ, which is why we recommend trying our online Mattress Selector.
Generally speaking, if a bed is too firm, it may lack the conformance needed to adequately support your spine.
If it is too soft, you may end up sinking down, causing your muscles to strain as they try to correct your posture.
To gauge which mattress is right for your back pain, it is recommended that you spend at least 10–15 minutes trying one in person. Ideally, you ought to do so in the position you usually sleep in.
Adjustable beds can also be a good option, as the right position can help alleviate pressure from your lower back by distributing the weight more evenly. Adjustable beds may assist with some sleep conditions, as well.
Best mattress technology for back pain
Here at Sealy, we are proud to share our Posturepedic range of mattresses that prioritise orthopaedic support and optimal comfort. Our intuitive coils sense and respond to your movements, providing support where you need it most.
Tips when buying a bed for a bad back
Which mattress is good for back pain?
What type of mattress should I buy?
You should buy a mattress that offers the right support, comfort and durability. There is no single mattress that suits everyone, as we all have unique sleep profiles and lifestyle requirements. If you’re unsure how to choose the right mattress, start with our online Mattress Selector.
Is my pillow causing back pain?
It is possible that your pillow may be causing spinal misalignment and discomfort. Side sleepers often need a more structured pillow to keep their head, neck and shoulders appropriately supported. Read more about side sleeper pillows and how they can help you sleep.
Do bed frames help your back?
Bed frames can help with back pain by offering deep down support. An old or unsupportive frame can cause your mattress to feel like it is sagging. Sealy bed bases are designed to be an optimal foundation by absorbing shock and prolonging the life of your mattress.